What Is the Future of Content Marketing? Two Veterans Weigh In

This post originally appeared on NewsCred.

Content marketers have a lot on their plates these days as more and more brands are realizing that creating content and driving business goals go hand in hand. NewsCred spoke with two content marketing veterans to pick their brains about the state of content marketing, how to make your content stand out, and what the future may hold.

  

Debbie Williams

Debbie Williams, Co-Founder, CCO, SPROUT Content

Her job: To bring her passion for revealing the most unique plot lines of a brand story and eloquently capturing the spirit and emotion of brands through words to all SPROUT Content clients.”

NC: What is Sprout’s approach to content marketing?

We have taken what was a typically “consumer” marketing approach and applied it to more traditionally “B2B” business, or as we like to call it, “unglamorous” or dare I even say “boring” industries. Every single company has a story to tell, and we help them reveal their heritage, their “why,” and expertise, and share it with the world. We like to call it “P2P” marketing.

NC: How do you define content marketing?

I define content marketing as the essential information that people need to learn more about an industry or business that makes them feel connected to the products and services they choose to do business with. Good content marketing is also authentic and transparent and gives people a glimpse into an organization to reveal why they’re in business and what they’re all about. Content should enable brands to create an emotional connection that can’t be “bought,” no matter how big your budget.

NC: What should be the top goals for any content marketer?

First and foremost, know your “why”—why are you doing this in the first place? Who is it for? What are your goals? And how are you going to reach them? Plain and simple. Another important factor many people leave out is measurement and analytics. If you put all this effort into developing a content marketing strategy and creating quality content, you have to know if it’s working. Of course, there are some obvious key indicators like increased sales or an increase in website traffic. Having a tracking system in place that will give you concrete data and a content strategy aligned with specific goals is the only way you’ll know if your efforts are effective.

NC: Now that content marketing is a full-fledged buzzword, is it harder to find quality content among all the noise?  

Unfortunately, I think so. So many people and agencies are now claiming to be content marketing “experts” after evolving from a traditional web development, SEO firm, or even publishing company, when content marketing is so much more than that. A lot of companies position themselves on delivering high volume content and low prices, but that’s just content for content’s sake. I don’t believe great content marketing can come in a “package” offering, and it is the furthest thing from one size fits all.

AnthonyGaenzle

  Anthony Gaenzle, Director of Marketing, EnVeritas Group

His job: “To pursue objectives that include: increasing brand awareness, generating leads through the website and other channels, enhancing the objectives of EVG’s business development team, developing and maintaining the company’s marketing budget, designing and implementing a social media marketing strategy, and conducting important market research.”

NC: What’s your take on content marketing?
Storytelling. Content marketing tells the stories of brands more effectively so that they can truly connect with their target audience and offer them something of value, rather than just pushing out traditional advertising.

NC: What sets apart good content from bad?
I think that Google has really done a good job of helping the higher-quality content stand out from the rest. Companies really need to focus on creating quality content that offers some type of benefit to the lives of their target audience. It’ll take time for it to stand out, but by sticking with it and ensuring that your content serves a real purpose, standing out can certainly be achieved.

NC: Any stellar examples of content marketing that you’ve been proud to be a part of? Any favorite examples from brands that all marketers should aspire to?
I really enjoyed working on a series of infographics that we recently created for Intercontinental Hotels Group. They came out really great, and there was a significant amount of engagement from viewers as far as social media sharing goes. Visual content is really critical, and I think it needs to be a part of every content marketer’s strategy. Coca-Cola does this very well. Their content strategy is one of the best and most well documented around. They’ve produced so many great videos and other types of content, and they’ve almost made the shift from a company that sells carbonated beverages to that of an entertainment company.

NC: Any predictions for what the next content marketing trend will be?
One thing I’ve been keeping an eye on is the advent of the wearable device. It’s really in its infancy at this point, but things like smart watches and Google Glass are going to have a similar impact on content marketing to that of the mobile revolution. It’s something we all need to pay attention to.

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